Sister McCarthy is a former missionary.

Sister McCarthy is November Cork Person of the Month

Grace Sweeney

A West Cork Presentation nun has been awarded Cork Person of the Month for November in honour of her 30 plus years of work in community development.

Sister Josephine McCarthy from Ballinacarriga, Dunmanway will now go on to qualify as a nominee for the Cork Person of the Year awards which will be held at a gala lunch in January.

Josephine, also known as Sister Jo was inspired by the legacy of Nano Nagle, founder of the Presentation Sisters and decided to follow Nano’s footsteps. She discovered a calling to work on missions and has said that Nano Nagle has been a constant in her very colourful life that took her on mission all around the world.

Sister Jo’s work brought on missions such as the Cork and Ross Mission in Peru in 1978 and Presentation Missions in Ecuador and Peru.

For many years she supported education programmes including an immersion experience for teachers and students in Africa, Pakistan, and India.

The West Cork nun said: “We did serve in some very dangerous places whilst doing our missionary work - when in Ecuador, we lived in an area which was completely lawless, and every dispute was settled with an axe.”

In Ecuador and Peru, she spent 20 years working before returning to Ireland in the early 2000s.

In 2006, the Presentation Sisters set up the Cork Migrant Centre (CMC) at Nano Nagle Place in Cork city to provide free and confidential information on access to services and immigration issues to EU and non-EU migrants.

Sister Jo has played a significant role in shaping and developing programmes at the Cork Migrant Centre.

Alongside The Lantern Project and Men’s Group, Cork Migrant Centre host a range of events, activities and outreach programmes supporting over 385 participants each week at its Psychosocial Wellbeing and Integration Hub.

Sister Jo has helped create a safe space where migrants can improve their skills and find community, including supporting residents of Direct Provision centres across the city and county.

The November Person of the Month is a leading voice on a national level in the promotion and protection of migrants’ rights.

In 2018, Sister Jo stepped down as Director of Cork Migrant Centre, but she is still an active volunteer with Dr Naomi Masheti and her team.